Monday, August 13, 2012

Did MMJ pay the price for botched secret plan?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 6:32 PM

A piece posted on AlterNet from Martin Lee's new book, Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana, makes an interesting case: that the sudden increase in prosecutions of those in California's medical-marijuana industry was cover for the pressure Attorney General Eric Holder was facing due to the failure of the covert "Fast and Furious" program.


2,000 assault rifles and other firearms were sold to suspected traffickers for the Mexican drug cartels. It was intended as an intelligence-gathering ploy, but U.S. agents lost track of most of these weapons. ...

By early October 2011, there were calls for a special prosecutor to investigate whether Holder had perjured himself during testimony before Congress. Right-wing pundits described the scandal as “Obama’s Watergate." ...

But Holder had an ace up his sleeve, and he played it at a crucial moment. ...

On October 7, the same day Holder wrote a detailed letter to Rep. Issa, defending his handling of the Fast and Furious affair, four federal prosecutors in California held a hastily organized press conference in which they threw down the gauntlet and announced the start of a far-ranging crackdown that would nearly decimate the Golden State’s medical marijuana industry.

Whether it's true or not is unknown to me, but either way, as the book points out, half of California's dispensaries closed over a 10-month period.

The Atlantic Wire makes an interesting point: The story is being shared between the pro-pot and anti-Obama crowds alike, each thinking it proves their case.

Like the gun-walking scandal, it has remained niche, but no-less passionate issue for a specific subset of Americans. Type in "Holder" + "Crackdown" + "Marijuana dispensary" and 100,000 results show up of stories decrying the numerous alleged "lies" of the attorney general. But it has failed to go mainstream outside of a few one-off remarks on Bill Maher's HBO show. Similarly, Republicans can't seem to get Fast & Furious elevated to its alleged "Watergate"-worthy status, despite aggressive attempts by the GOP-led House to sue Eric Holder for refusing to provide documents related to the scandal, an action they pursued today. If this is a strength in numbers issue, maybe the two sides can join forces?

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